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30,000 People Were 'Disappeared' in Argentina's Dirty War. These Women Never Stopped Looking

March 7, 2019 in History

By Erin Blakemore

Draped in lush trees and surrounded by stately buildings, Buenos Aires’ Plaza de Mayo might look like a place to check out monuments or stop for a relaxing rest. But each Thursday, one of Argentina’s most famous public squares fills with women wearing white scarves and holding signs covered with names.

They are the Mothers and Grandmothers of the Plaza de Mayo, and they are there to bring attention to something that threw their lives into tragedy and chaos during the 1970s: the kidnapping of their children and grandchildren by Argentina’s brutal military dictatorship.

For decades, the women have been advocating for answers about what happened to their loved ones. It’s a question shared by the families of up to 30,000 people “disappeared” by the state during Argentina’s “Dirty War,” a period during which the country’s military dictatorship turned against its own people.

Clara Jurado (center) and other Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo claim for their missing children in front of the government house in 1982. From 1976-1983 during Argentina’s “Dirty War,” up to 30,000 people “disappeared”.

View the 8 images of this gallery on the original article

In 1976, the Argentine military overthrew the government of Isabel Perón, the widow of populist president Juan Perón. It was part of a larger series of political coups called Operation Condor, a campaign sponsored and supported by the United States.

The military dictatorship that resulted called itself the “Process of National Reorganization,” or “Proceso,” and dubbed its activities the Dirty War. But the war wasn’t with outside forces: It was with the Argentinian people. The war ushered in a period of state-sponsored period of torture and terrorism. The junta turned against Argentina’s citizens, whisking away political dissidents and people it suspected of being aligned with leftist, socialist or social justice causes and incarcerating, torturing and murdering them.

The Dirty War was fought on a number of fronts. The junta dubbed left-wing activists “terrorists” and kidnapped and killed an estimated 30,000 people. “Victims died during torture, were machine-gunned at the edge of enormous pits, or were thrown, drugged, from airplanes into the sea,” explains Marguerite Feitlowitz. “Those individuals came to be known as “the missing,” or desaparecidos.”

The government made no effort to identify or document the desaparecidos. By “disappearing” them and disposing of their bodies, the junta could in effect pretend they never existed. But the family members and friends …read more

Source: HISTORY

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London

March 7, 2019 in History

By History.com Editors

The capital of the United Kingdom has a long, rich history that stretches back to the ancient Romans.

London is the capital of England and the United Kingdom and one of the largest and most important cities in the world. The area was originally settled by early hunter gatherers around 6,000 B.C., and researchers have found evidence of Bronze Age bridges and Iron Age forts near the River Thames.

Ancient Romans founded a port and trading settlement called Londinium in 43 A.D., and a few years later a bridge was constructed across the Thames to facilitate commerce and troop movements. But in 60 A.D., Celtic queen Boudicca led an army to sack the city, which was burned to the ground in the first of many fires to destroy London.

The city was soon rebuilt, but burned again about 125 A.D. More rebuilding occurred, and within a few generations the population exceeded 40,000 people. After the fall of the Roman Empire in 476 A.D., however, the city was attacked numerous times by Vikings and other raiders, and soon London was largely abandoned.

READ MORE: 8 Reasons Why Rome Fell

The city’s fortunes began to change in 1065, when Westminster Abbey was established. One year later, after his victory at the Battle of Hastings, William the Conqueror was crowned King of England. During his reign, the Tower of London was built, and in 1176 a wooden London Bridge that had repeatedly burned was replaced by a bridge of stone.

Bet You Didn’t Know: London (TV-PG; 2:21)

As the power of the Tudor and the Stuart dynasties grew, London expanded in size and importance. By the time Henry VIII was king, the population of London was at least 100,000.

READ MORE: The Wildly Different Childhoods of Elizabeth I and Mary Queen of Scots

Tensions between Protestants and Catholics, however, darkened the otherwise prosperous reign of Henry’s daughter, Elizabeth I. In 1605, Catholic sympathizer Guy Fawkes tried—and failed—to blow up the entire British House of Parliament in the infamous Gunpowder Plot.

Real disaster struck in 1665, when London was hit by the Great Plague, which killed about 100,000 people. One year later, the city, which had swollen to about a half-million in population, mostly housed in wooden structures, was again reduced to ashes in the …read more

Source: HISTORY

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Boston: A City Steeped in U.S. History

March 7, 2019 in History

By History.com Editors

Boston has played a central role in American history, from its settlement by the Puritans, to its American Revolutionary battles to its storied universities.

Boston, the largest city in New England, is located on a hilly peninsula in Massachusetts Bay. The region had been inhabited since at least 2400 B.C. by the Massachusetts tribe of Native Americans, who called the peninsula Shawmut.

Captain John Smith in 1614 explored the coastline of what he christened “New England” (to make the area sound more attractive to settlers). Within a few years, more than half the Native Americans in the region had died of smallpox introduced by European explorers.

READ MORE: Did Colonists Use Smallpox as Biological Warfare?

A fleet of ships helmed by Puritans left England in 1630, settling in the Massachusetts Bay Colony. Led by John Winthrop, the group soon merged with the Pilgrims’ Plymouth Colony, located about 40 miles to the south in Cape Cod Bay.

Originally called Tremontaine for the three hills in the area, the Puritans later changed the settlement’s name to Boston, after the town in Lincolnshire, England, from which many Puritans originated. In the 1630s, Boston Latin School—where Benjamin Franklin, John Hancock and Samuel Adams studied—and Harvard University were founded.

Boston Massacre (TV-PG; 3:00)

Despite the premium placed on education and religion, Boston’s Puritans weren’t keen on tolerance: The “crime” of being a Quaker was punishable by imprisonment or death, celebrating Christmas was banned, and in 1643 the city welcomed the first slave ship into Boston Harbor.

As Boston grew and prospered, tensions between colonists and English governors increased, especially after the British Parliament passed the Molasses Act of 1733, which levied a tax on molasses, a critical import for Boston rum makers. Soon, the city’s politicians and clergymen were crying out for, “No taxation without representation!”

After the 1770 Boston Massacre, during which British troops fired upon a mob of colonists, killing five, anti-British sentiment reached a fever pitch. When the 1773 Tea Act levied taxes on imported tea, the Sons of Liberty staged the Boston Tea Party, dumping some 45 tons of tea into Boston Harbor.

READ MORE: Did a Snowball Start the American Revolution?

Many of the key events of the Revolutionary War occurred in or near Boston, including the Battles of Lexington and Concord, Paul Revere’s ride …read more

Source: HISTORY

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Why Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Should Support Eliminating Limits on Campaign Contributions

March 7, 2019 in Economics

By Trevor Burrus, Patrick Moran

Trevor Burrus and Patrick Moran

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, one of the strongest advocates
for reducing the influence of dark money of undisclosed origin on political
campaigns, is under fire after her chief of staff, Saikat
Chakrabarti, allegedly funneled more than $1 million from two
political action committees into two of his companies, possibly in
violation of campaign finance laws.

At this point, it is unclear whether this was unintentional or a
purposeful attempt to break the law. Either way, the allegations
underscore the reality of U.S. campaign finance laws: They are
often overreaching, difficult to understand and overly burdensome
for candidates.

Moreover, by making fundraising more difficult, they harm
“outsider” candidates more than established incumbents. Whether
this was an innocent mistake by a first-time candidate or done on
purpose, these allegations show just how difficult it is to work
within such a highly restrictive system.

Campaigns need money,
especially those that aim to change the status quo. This is the
reality of running for public office.

Campaign finance laws benefit powerful incumbents while hurting
candidates with fewer resources.

Notoriously complex and seldom understood, compliance with
campaign finance regulations is both costly and difficult. It is no
surprise that grassroots campaigns like the one Ocasio-Cortez ran
can seldom afford to retain one of the few experts in the field or
keep track of the thousands of pages of campaign finance
regulations. Compliance alone is a tremendous barrier to entry for
lesser-known candidates who nonetheless want to run for public
office.

To make matters more complicated, the regulatory landscape is
constantly changing. Instead of making it easy for candidates to
comply with the rules, the Federal Election Commission is
constantly adding regulations and reinterpreting existing ones -
often on a weekly basis. A well-established campaign practice
that is legal today might be banned tomorrow. This raises the
question: How are candidates supposed to structure a campaign when
the rules are constantly changing under their feet?

Contribution limits hurt newcomers

Grassroots candidates should likewise be concerned about
draconian limits on campaign contributions that even Ocasio-Cortez
has supported. As campaigns gain traction, they need resources to
keep going, and both individuals and political action committees
are extremely limited in how much they can contribute to
candidates.

Whether they are a CEO or your grandmother, individuals can
only give $2,700 to a candidate committee per
election. PACs can only give $5,000 a year. For nonwealthy
candidates, these limits make it very difficult to fund a campaign.
Although individuals face a shockingly low cap when contributing
directly to candidates, they can give a lot more through national
party committees: up to …read more

Source: OP-EDS

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What Left-Wing Populism Looks Like

March 7, 2019 in Economics

By Ilya Shapiro, Nathan Harvey

Ilya Shapiro and Nathan Harvey

House Resolution 1, also known as the For the People Act, is House Democrats’ latest effort
to further federalize and micromanage our governance. The enormous
571-page bill is a progressive wish list of new rules and
regulations that would undermine the legitimacy and functionality
of our entire electoral system. And it’s now set for a vote on the
House floor.

The Constitution deliberately decentralizes power over elections
as it does over most other areas of law, leaving states and
localities to determine rules for when, where, and how to cast a
vote. We have laws in place to stop racial discrimination and the
like, but short of that, decentralization ensures that no single
entity exerts too much influence over elections. Indeed, the reason
it’s very hard to “hack” a presidential election
is because it’s not a “national” election but 50
state ones.

House Democrats’ new
election-reform plan, the so-called For the People Act, is an
unconstitutional abomination.

H.R. 1 would strip states of their longstanding responsibilities
as electoral gatekeepers by imposing one-size-fits-all rules. A key
provision of the bill would require states to use independent
commissions to design congressional districts. But the
constitutional authority to draw districts rests with state
legislatures, so the federal government can’t force states to
use commissions. That would surely invite legal challenge as a
violation of the anti-commandeering doctrine established by the
Supreme Court in New York v. United States (1992) and
reiterated just last year in Murphy v. NCAA (2018), which
prohibits the federal government from conscripting state officials
into carrying out preferred policies.

One of the most worrisome “reforms” is tucked away
in the bill’s Federal Election Commission provisions. After
Watergate, Congress created the FEC as a six-member, politically
independent body so that neither party could use its regulatory
power to punish political opponents. H.R. 1 abandons this
longstanding structure, refashioning the FEC into a five-member
commission that allows a simple majority to investigate and
prosecute. The bill does state that no more than two members can be
from the same political party, but this wouldn’t stop obvious
partisans like, say, Bernie Sanders (who’s technically an
“independent”) from being appointed. Adopting these
changes would subject the FEC — our election monitor —
to partisan control.

The partisan implications of this change are clear. If this bill
were to become law under a Democratic president in 2021, he or she
would get to appoint all five FEC commissioners. Two
commissioners would be appointed for three-year terms, and the
other three for six years. All terms thereafter would be for six
years. So a Democratic president could, in theory, appoint two
Republican members to …read more

Source: OP-EDS

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What Happened When We Kept out of the India-Pakistan Fracas?

March 7, 2019 in Economics

By Doug Bandow

Doug Bandow

America is the essential nation, the unipower, the country that
stands taller and sees further than all others. So naturally it
must meddle, righting wrongs, fixing problems, enforcing peace,
protecting allies, punishing evildoers, preserving order, and so
much more. Never mind that it does all this poorly, inconsistently,
and often disastrously, creating new and even greater problems as
it goes. Washington policymakers can’t allow any crisis to go
unsolved.

Yet uncharacteristically, in Kashmir, there has been no American
rush to make the lion lie down with the lamb. Two nuclear powers,
India and Pakistan, recently went closer to the brink than at any
time since their 1971 war. The result could have been
catastrophic.

Yet Washington apparently realized that it had limited influence
in both Islamabad and New Delhi. Both nations were dealing with a
potential existential crisis and not inclined to listen to others.
The United States decided it could do little more than issue
peaceful appeals.

Nothing. That should
teach us most of the world’s crises are none of Washington’s
business.

This response should become a model for the future.

The world is full of geopolitical upsets, national implosions,
military conflicts, internal collapses, humanitarian tragedies,
political instabilities, and regional hostilities. The U.S. can
safely ignore most of them. Indeed, America’s safety usually
requires ignoring them. Intervening puts Americans at risk for
little potential gain. Consider the other candidates for the South
Asia “do nothing” model.

Impoverished, dictatorial Venezuela. The
implosion of what was once a wealthy nation is tragic. But while
the ongoing crisis has been disruptive to Venezuela’s
neighbors, most obviously Colombia, it’s had little impact on
America. Our attempts at intervention are inevitably tainted by
more than a century of “Yankee imperialism” in Latin
America. Washington’s sanctions, meanwhile, have intensified
popular hardship without so far unduly discomfiting regime
elites.

Starving people into revolt has rarely succeeded. Triggering a
civil war would kill and destroy without guaranteeing anyone a
better future. Direct military intervention would be even worse,
opening an international Pandora’s Box while leaving America
responsible for the potentially disastrous consequences. Instead,
Washington should back the efforts of Venezuela’s neighbors
and other Latin American nations to peacefully defuse the
crisis.

Defense-dependent South Korea. The Cold War is
long over. The Korean peninsula is no longer tied to a larger
global struggle. The South has raced past its northern antagonist
and is well able to defend itself. America and North Korea are
attempting to reconcile.

The U.S. should withdraw its garrison and end its security
guarantee. The North’s acquisition of nuclear weapons, which it is
unlikely to abandon, makes that withdrawal even more imperative.
The U.S. does not want to be drawn into a new Korean …read more

Source: OP-EDS